Day On, Day Off: Sarasota & Zota Beach Resort
The beauty of staying at Zota Beach Resort, a Longboat Key luxury beach resort, is that you can easily submerge yourself in your own secluded paradise for a day and then resurface to get back to civilization in nearby Sarasota.
Day On at Zota Beach Resort
Breakfast on Your Balcony
© Chelsea Gessner @whereweadventure
What’s better than breakfast in bed? How about breakfast on your own private balcony. And when you book one of Zota Beach Resort’s beachfront rooms – in either their Escalera or Opal tower – that balcony comes with space to spare and a glimmering view of the Gulf that’s hard to beat. Breakfast is brought to you via room service from Viento Kitchen & Bar, the resort’s on-site restaurant, serving both breakfast and dinner. While the menu options include everything from steel-cut oatmeal studded with candied pecans, golden raisins, and fresh seasonal berries to a create-your-own omelet option, we suggest the avocado toast. It’s a hearty slice of asiago cheese toast that comes loaded with an avocado-Boursin spread, heirloom tomato, and cage-free egg cooked to your preference (sunny-side up, scrambled, over-easy, etc.).
Do a Little Paddleboarding or Kayaking
One of the major benefits of staying at Zota Beach Resort is the easy beach access. Take advantage of the beachfront location by strolling down to the white sand and set up for the morning (towel service is offered through the resort). Of if you make arrangements the day before, you can rent a standup paddleboard or kayak through BouYah! Watersports, allowing you to explore the placid Gulf waters surrounding you.
Lunch at the Pool
(left inset photo) © @sota_creative, @swim_city, @alyssagayconsulting
As the day’s sun gets hotter, retreat to the resort’s infinity-edge pool beneath one of the palm-shaded loungers. Or, if available, book one of the poolside cabanas, nestled along the southern side of the pool deck. Featuring comfortable furniture, a TV, a safe for your valuables, and a refrigerator, you’ll have all you need for a relaxing afternoon. When you get hungry, food and beverage service is at your beck-and-call from the nearby Cascades Pool Bar, so flip through a provided menu and choose from appetizers, salads, sandwiches, a kids menu, and an assortment of refreshing cocktails.
Beach Volleyball or Beach Hammock
It’s slightly hidden, but if you make your way past the pool and to the northern corner of the property, you’ll find a beach volleyball court encircled by towering palms – just ask the pool or beach staff for a ball and you’re welcome to work on your spike. Rather take it easy? Nestled among the dunes not far from beach volleyball, you’ll find a couple of hammocks for a nice afternoon sway with a book and a beer (or magazine and margarita), serviced by Cascades.
Dinner at Viento Kitchen + Bar Followed by a Fireside Night Cap
(right inset photo) © Katherine Fox, @theweekendfox
Finish the day by dining at Viento Kitchen & Bar. The “Floribbean” menu (meaning Florida, Caribbean, and Mediterranean influences) features guest favorites like pappardelle lobster and shrimp, pan-seared grouper, and filet mignot in your choice of wild mushroom and red wine reduction or a sicilian lemon and herb sauce. Not to mention, the extensive wine list will satisfy even the most seasoned oenophile. In fact, order an extra glass and retreat back to the pool deck to enjoy it beside the sleek fire pit as the sunk sinks below the horizon.
Day Off in Sarasota
Stroll St. Armands Circle
(right inset photo) © The League Collective, @thebrosefamily
Located no more than a 15-minute drive south from Zota Beach Resort, St. Armands Circle serves up scores of upscale boutiques, award-winning restaurants, posh art galleries, and more in an open-air European-inspired setting peppered with marble sculptures. But this barrier island destination boasts than just a sophisticated shopping, but a rich history entwined with Sarasota circus magnate, John Ringling.
Lunch at Duval’s
Known by many as the place to get some of the freshest seafood in Sarasota, Duval’s is also embedded in the local community, both in terms of their regular diners and the fishermen they work with. In addition to the day’s fresh catch (served as a sandwich, entree, or salad), consider trying the lobster bisque or New England clam chowder as well.
Not Your Ordinary Garden
No, it’s not a mirage. Although, it certainly feels like one given that Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – boasting 15 acres packed to the gills with tropical and subtropical plants – appears like a botanical oasis in the middle of downtown Sarasota. Formerly the home of William and Marie Selby, it has since evolved into one of the leading centers for the study and conservation of plants, welcoming 130,000 visitors each year. Highlights include the Towering Bamboo Garden, the Children’s Rainforest Garden, the Koi Pond, and the Mangrove Bay Walk.
Dinner at Kojo
Acacia wood imported from Thailand, cherry blossoms, greenery, and white oak – the stunning design details may be what gets patrons in the door at Kojo, a Palm Avenue-based Sarasota restaurant. But it’s the creative pan-Asian menu featuring baos, sushi, nori tacos, and signature steaks that keep them coming back. Whatever you do, be sure to start off right with an order of the Tuna Pizza appetizer, which is a crispy tortilla topped with spicy tuna, ponzu mayo, truffle oil, red onion, and microgreens. And you also can’t go wrong with the Mushroom Rice Pot, featuring five types of Japanese mushrooms – along with inari tofu, bamboo shoots, and a truffle emulsion – cooked in a cast-iron pot in a 700-degree pizza oven.
Where to Stay Zota Beach Resort